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Apple iPad sales defy the declining Indian tablet market in December quarter

Sales results for the Indian tablet market were recently released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) – and there are some interesting findings.

Apple recorded the fastest growth in the quarter ended December 2016, making it into the top five despite the segment shrinking 3.1 percent to 3.7 million units for the year.

Analysts expect this declining trend (which has been continuous over the past few years) to continue.

Apple's shipments in the December quarter surged a whopping 16 percent from the one before and 17 percent from the year earlier, pushing them up the rankings after a long time further down.

“While iPad Air 2 remained the top selling model for Apple, constituting half its total shipments, the iPad Pro accounted for 22.7% of India's total detachable category in 2016,” IDC reported.

In regards to the full market, for the quarter and year ended December, the top four tablet makers were Datawind, Samsung, Lenovo and iBall. Micromax was fifth for the whole year but Apple took the slot for the final quarter.

IDC analysts expect consumer demand for tablets to drop in the coming years, largely due to the rise of smartphones with larger screens, which reflects a global trend as buyers hold on to their old devices instead of buying new ones.

However, commercial shipments may offset this slightly as they surged 35 percent over the full year.

“We expect this to grow further in coming quarters,” says IDC India senior analyst Karthik J. “Detachables are expected to continue with healthy double-digit growth in 2017.

Interestingly, fourth quarter-tablet shipments dropped 19.6 percent from the one before, which IDC has put down to seasonal decline after a festive spike in the third quarter, and demonetization limiting the consumer sales in the final quarter of the year.

The detachable market certainly looks to be the market of the future, as the category grew 30.7 percent in 2016, driven by demand from both the consumer and commercial segments.

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